This extract is from All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland, published by Storey Publishing. The book is a brilliant reference bible for English Paper Piecing Techniques and takes you beyond the standard hexagons into diamonds, triangles and curved shapes too. Beautifully illustrated and photographed, there are plenty of inspiring ideas for projects you could design with your newly learned skills.
Diamonds are probably the second most popular shape for EPP (English Paper Piecing). You can change the width of a diamond to create lots of interesting patterns, and this shape also lends itself wonderfully to making starry applique motifs.
How to Baste Diamonds
Here is the template for making your diamonds. Cut your fabric diamonds with a 3/8″ seam allowance.
This method will work with any kind of diamond. Be sure to pin or lightly glue your fabric and template together.
Starting with a knot, begin basting at one of the wider-angle corners. Fold one side of the fabric down and finger-press it.
Then, fold and press the next side down over the first. Take a tack stitch through the fabric where
the two edges meet.
Take a basting stitch through the fabric and paper at the centre of the next side. Now you’re at the next corner, which is a much narrower angle. Fold the next side of the fabric down; see how you end
up with a little flag of fabric at the tip? Take tack stitch at this point, but make it wider because you’re
stitching over a raw edge.
Take a basting stitch through the fabric and paper at the centre of this side. Fold the next edge of the fabric down, finger-press it, and take another small tack stitch at the next wide corner.
Take a basting stitch through the paper at the centre of the third side. At the last corner, tuck the edge of the fabric under the first edge. This will form another little fabric flag (which faces in the opposite direction from the earlier one). Take a wider tack stitch at this point. Take one last basting stitch at the centre of the final side, and then finish the thread.
Basting Small Diamonds
If your diamond has sides of 1″ or less, then it’s not necessary to baste through the template. Instead, use tack stitches at the corners.
Larger diamonds with both tack and basting stitches
Smaller diamonds basted with only tack stitches
To Flag or not to Flag?
As you saw in the basting instructions, when you baste the narrower angles of a diamond, you end up with a little fabric flag where one side folds over the other. Some EPPers baste their diamonds differently; they fold the tip of the fabric down over the corner and then fold the sides over that, as you see in the photos (above).
I do use both basting methods in my EPP, but they have specific purposes. When I’m making a project
where I’ll need my diamond points to match up precisely, I always baste my patches as shown before, so they have the fabric flags. That method creates sharp corners, which are much easier to align in patchwork.
See in the photo (below) how much bulkier a finished point is than a flagged one?
When I’m using diamonds to make an appliqué motif of some kind, however, I baste some finished points
in my patches. The points at the outer edges of an appliqué don’t need to be particularly sharp; they just need to have all raw edges folded under neatly, and the finished-point method accomplishes this nicely. In fact, when I baste diamonds for a star-shaped motif, I usually do it with a flag at one end (for matching up the centre points) and a finished point at the other. It works like a charm!